MacBook vs MacBook Air

Hi All,

I’m looking to buy a new laptop and hoping for a bit of advice re: the MacBook vs MacBook Air. I’m a pseudo power user (that is, I listen to the podcast and dream of being one!) and don’t need a top of the line Mac (no video editing or podcast creation etc). Ideally I would prefer to simply upgrade my existing iPad and stay within the iOS ecosystem, but managing our website on Squarespace with iOS just isn’t doable, so I need to get back into the world of Mac (some might even say ‘return of the Mac’!) Anyhoo, any advice/help would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance from all the way down in the South West of Western Australia!


I was an Air user for 4 years and still think it is one of the best machines regarding the balance of power and weight. Excellent battery life and very comfortable typing because of the form factor. But the screen is simply not disputable anymore.


I agree with the previous poster, the screen is so much better on the MacBook. I couldn’t live without retina now, it makes a huge difference.

I’m also of thinking of buying my wife a macbook adorable, but the keyboard… and the one port. But then there’s also the price factor. I recently purchased a 8GB, 256GB 13" air for a friend with warranty all in less $900, which makes me wonder if my wife could put up with the low res screen.

I would say if price is no issue, macbook. If price is a consideration you can get a really nice macbook air for under $1k USD.

Hope that helps!

I own a MacBook Air and it is a good machine if you can live with the low screen resolution. It has more ports than the MacBook and has more power under the hood compared to the more expensive MacBook. If you are leaning toward the MacBook, it might be worth considering the Base model 13" MacBook Pro. For the same price as the MacBook, it has a beefier processor, more ports and you still get that great Retina display. But the base model MacBook Pro has half the storage space of the MacBook.

It is important that you weigh what is important to you in a computer with your given budget. I am a firm believer in buying as much computer as your budget will allow. By doing this, you will be more satisfied with your machine for a longer period of time.


I used a MacBook Air for years and loved it, but now that I have a Retina screen in my MacBook Pro, I wouldn’t consider anything without it.

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Retina, schmetina…

The MacBook Air screen is more than adequate for what the original poster says he needs, and it has more than one port. It will handle whatever most power users would ask, including Lightroom/Photoshop work. It doesn’t have the keyboard issues common in new generation notebooks. The 13" MBA is quite possibly the best laptop Apple ever made.


I had the same dilemma last summer and wound up going with a MacBook Air. The deciding factors for me were the keyboard and the number of ports. For the last 25+ years, I’ve always bought mid- to high-end PCs and Macs so it was a bit of a tough decision to make but I really don’t like the new style of keyboard. And I’ve got a lot of USB gear that would need to be replaced or at least have adaptors for the new machine.

I used to need the higher-end machines for the kind of work I was doing on them but when I’m honest with myself, most of what I do these days doesn’t need a lot of horsepower. Although I have used it for some basic video editing and Photoshop work with no problem at all. I’ve been very happy with the Air and don’t mind the lower resolution screen. I would spend a bit of time with both machines to see how you like the keyboard (aside from the issues that they seem to be having, they have a distinctly different feel) and whether you are okay using a non-retina display.


I had a Macbook Air. It is a wonderful machine. However, I put the same wallpaper on my iPhone, iPad Pro, and MacBook Air (the Clownfish wallpaper). The poor quality of the MacBook Air screen really stood out. I have since purchased the 12" MacBook. The screen is worlds better than the Air. I highly recommend the 12" MacBook.

I have a MacBook adorable for work and absolutely love it. It’s thin, it’s light, the charger is small, and the screen is lovely. I wouldn’t recommend buying the Air that hasn’t been updated in quite some time over it, the only thing I’d say is if weight and size aren’t a concern (I often bring my laptop home with me so it definitely is in my case), then the 13" MacBook Pro without the touchbar are usually the same price as the MacBooks.


If you’re leaning towards the Macbook, for the same price range you could get a MacBook Pro instead. It would perform better in the long run, has twice or four times the USB-C ports, etc. Just sayin’.

Or here’s another idea, get a used MacBook Pro 2012-2015, depending on if you want a Retina screen or not. I just salvaged a 2012 MBP 15" from the trashbin, maxed out the RAM and put an SSD in it and fixed the broken screen (non-Retina) and I actually like it better than my 2015 MBP 13" with Retina. Yes, the pixels are visible if you look carefully, but for what I do, I like the bigger screen. And it has ALL the legacy ports, even a DVD drive (which I’ll probably never use). Lots of people are searching for these older MBP models and doing the same. I put $350 into this machine (I had the other parts) and really really like it :sunglasses:

Go for the Macbook the display is much better. Also the MB Air is an outdated computer.
Whatever you do, customise your new Mac with 16GB of memory!

I normally ask people not to buy a Macbook Air, but really consider a Macbook (or a iPad Pro for some). I would hold off any Macbook purchase until October, unless you really need it sooner.

(Or what about a used Macbook Pro 2015-model or something?)

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I had a MacBook for a while before I sold it. I only sold it because my need for a portable Mac concludes and my iPad Pro can do what I need it to. That being said, the MB was amazing and I loved it! One port didn’t bother me as I had a good dongle (with power through). I was able to keep a lot of my apps running and never noticed a slowdown (Twitterrific, Evernote, DEVONthink, Word, Scrivener, Safari, and Notes all running at once).

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After using the same MB (2008!) for nine years, last fall I bought the MacBook Adorable (mine is even the rose gold one). The plan was that it was going to be a secondary machine that I only used when I couldn’t be at one of my desks (there’s iMacs on my home and office – I even have a 2013 MBP from my employer). I wanted something light, and easy to carry around and something my university didn’t own. The selling point had been when I was at an institute workshop and a friend pulled hers out of her normal sized purse.

It’s been more than six months and I probably use my MacBook 90% of the time. Doing what I do (mostly web work, teaching prep, data base research, and writing) it works well, the screen is beautiful, and because it’s so light I have it with me all the time. I have an iPad, but since I got the MacBook I barely use it except as a eBook reader. I’ve got all the dongle attachments, but I almost never use them except for the VGA adapter I need for the classroom.

I’ve had no keyboard problems. The only thing I’d change about it is that I don’t like the clicks they put in the keyboard action – since I work a lot in very quiet archives and libraries, I miss the keying silence of my old MB.

Anyway, short answer is I love mine as much (or maybe more) than any computer I’ve ever had.

Agree. I had to upgrade to MacBook Pro but really miss using my Air.

Thanks all, I really appreciate the feedback. I’m still grinding away on my little 9.7” iPad Air 2, but I’ll get there eventually!!!

I’m really late to this party but my kids got a MacBook Air for my Father’s Day gift and I love it. It may be older tech but it does all the things I need it to do and the form factor is still great!! Put another way- Would you buy a Ferrari to run errands around town?

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